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Fundamentals and Goals of Computer

Fundamentals of Computer

In this age of computers there is no such activity that cannot be achieved without computers. Computer has become an indispensable and multipurpose tool. We are breathing in the computer age and gradually computer has become such a desire necessity of life that it is difficult to imagine life without it. This book will help you to gain an understanding of the basic as well as advanced concepts of computers. It will cover a foundational study of the computer hardware, software, operating systems, peripherals, the hardware maintenance etc.


A computer is an advanced electronic device that takes raw data as input from the user and processes this data under the control of set of instructions (called program) and gives the result (output) and saves output for the future reference and usage.

To know about the working of a computer, first need to understand various terms such as Data, Processing and Information. First of all, lets start with three basic terms:-

1. Data : Data is a collection of basic facts and figure without any sequence. This data is also called as raw data. When the data is collected as facts and figures, there is no meaning to it, at that time, for example, name of people, names of employees etc.

2. Processing : Processing is the set of instructions given by the user to the related data that was collected earlier to output meaningful information. The computer does the required processing by making the necessary calculations, comparisons and decisions.

3. Information : Information is the end point or the final output of any processed work. This meaningful output data is called information.

The major characteristics of computers are the following:

  • • Speed : A powerful computer is capable of executing about 3 million calculations per second.
  • • Accuracy : A computer’s accuracy is consistently high; if there are errors, they are due to errors in instructions given by the programmer.
  • • Reliability : The output generated by the computer is very reliable as long as the data is reliable.
  • • Memory/Storage Capacity : The computer can store large volumes of data and makes the retrieval of data an easy task.
  • • Versatility: The computer can accomplish many different things. It can accept information through various input-output devices, perform arithmetic and logic operations, generate a variety of outputs in a variety of forms, etc.
  • • Automation: Once the instructions are fed into computer it works automatically without any human intervention.
  • • Diligence : A computer will never fail to perform its task due to distraction or laziness.
  • • Convenience : Computers are usually easy to access, and allow people to find information easily that without a would be very difficult.
  • • Flexibility : Computers can be used for entertainment, for business, by people who hold different ideals or who have varied goals. Almost anyone can use a computer, and computers can be used to assist with almost any goal.


1. Problem-solving techniques using the computer.
2. Analysis of complex problems and the synthesis of solutions .
3. Comprehension of modern software engineering principles.
4. A vast breadth and depth of knowledge in the discipline of computer science.
Like all machines, a computer needs to be directed and controlled in order to perform a task successfully. Until such time as a program is prepared and stored in the computer’s memory, the computer ‘knows’ absolutely nothing, not even how to accept or reject data. 
Even the most sophisticated computer, no matter how capable it is, must be told what to do. Until the capabilities and the limitations of a computer are recognized, its usefulness cannot be thoroughly understood.
In the first place, it should be recognized that computers are capable of doing repetitive operations. A
computer can perform similar operations thousands of times, without becoming bored, tired, or even careless.
Secondly, computers can process information at extremely rapid rates. For example, modern computers can solve certain classes of arithmetic problems millions of times faster than a skilled mathematician. Speeds for performing decision-making operations are comparable to those for arithmetic operations but input-output operations, however, involve mechanical motion and hence require more time. On a typical computer system, cards are read at an average speed of 1000 cards per minute and as many as 1000 lines can be printed at the same rate.
Thirdly, computers may be programmed to calculate answers to whatever level of accuracy is specified by the programmer. In spite of newspaper headlines such as ‘Computer Fails’, these machines are very accurate and reliable especially when the number of operations they can perform every second is considered. Because they are man-made machines, they sometimes malfunction or break down and have to be repaired. However, in most instances when the computer fails, it is due to human error and is not the fault of the computer at all.
Fundamentals of Computer 
In the fourth place, general-purpose computers can be programmed to solve various types of problems because of their flexibility. One of the most important reasons why computers are so widely use today is that almost every big problem can be solved by solving a number of little problems-one after another.
Finally, a computer, unlike a human being, has no intuition. A person may suddenly find the answer to a problem without working out too many of the details, but a computer can only proceed as it has been programmed to.

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